Sylosis – Dormant Heart
Release Date: January 13, 2015
I’ve had a long relationship with the music of Sylosis. I’ve been following the band ever since they released their first album Conclusion of an Age back in 2008. I’ve seen their musical style grow throughout the years and across two incredible albums which I loved a lot. When I got this album I knew I would not be disappointed. Dormant Heart though turned out to be an album I really couldn’t sink my teeth into.
Formed in 2000, they released their debut EP in 2006. Through subsequent releases they have grown musically around a strong central core consisting of pure Thrash Metal. Led by front man Josh Middleton, Sylosis have been moving towards a more melodic and technical impressive musical direction. Their last two albums, Edge of Earth (2011) and Monolith (2012), were leaps and bounds ahead of their debut. However, with Dormant Heart it seems like they have hit a plateau musically. The album still captures the sonic signature of Sylosis perfectly, with its melodic passages, tight song structures and punch-to-the-gut thrash metal sound, yet the record feels lacking in some hard to define way.
The album is similar to their previous offering, Monolith, which is in no way an undermining of its content. The album stands well on its own merits; but I just could not get rid of that familiar feeling. There are some really impressive songs on this album: Tracks like “Victims and Pawns”, “Leech”, and “Harm” are just amazing to listen to. With each song that comes on you feel your blood pumping faster, you want to jump around and headbang; you know that you would just kill it in a pit; and then during the mellow parts of the songs you want to just float away with the wind. Such is the beauty of the music that Sylosis makes; it takes you through a roller-coaster of emotions with each song.
There it is again, that nagging feeling that I’ve heard this music before. Maybe it’s because I’ve been following them for so long that I always expect them to not just meet my expectations but outdo them as they always have. I guess it’s a natural part of the evolution of a band, they have found a sound, a musical direction which they like and they want to revel in it a bit more before they move on. Whatever their reasons may be, it just didn’t catch my attention the way the other albums did. After listening to Dormant Heart a few times I just started to lose interest. There weren’t any novel ideas in there that I could pick apart and analyze; it was all stuff I had heard before. But since it is Sylosis we are talking about here, the fact that it’s the same old stuff isn’t such a bad thing for the most part.
The production on the album is sharp. The guitar tone, the drum beats, the rumble of the bass each stands out clearly in every song. There is no muddling of the vocals in the music nor do the vocals overpower the music; the levels are just right. The album was mastered by Acle Kahney of Tesseract so it’s no surprise that things are so well-balanced. Josh Middleton on vocals and leads is just the best. Although I wish there were more of his sweeping solos on this album. Alex Bailey on rhythms is tight and on the mark providing the songs with their girth, along with Carl Parnell on bass. Rob Callard on drums is like a robot; fast and precise, he somehow makes the same old Slayer beat you’ve heard a million times over sound exciting.
Dormant Heart is a good album when you look at it as an individual piece but when compared to the impressive discography that Sylosis have built, the album doesn’t stand quite as tall. For me, as I mentioned already, it sounds too similar to their previous album; but what may be a negative point for me may be a positive for someone else. Why is it bad if it sounds like one of their best albums? I guess my fear stems from the fact that I don’t want to see this band stagnate and end up producing the same album 50 times over. We have seen this happen to some of the best bands out there. I end this review in hopes that my doubts and fears will be shattered by their next album. For now I would like to say that Dormant Heart is a killer album, it is just that it’s a copycat killer.